Suntech's 2012 sales fall by nearly half

02. May 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd has released preliminary, unaudited, financial figures for Q4 and FY 2012. As expected, the company suffered from significantly falling sales and a battered gross margin. Meanwhile, a creditors meeting has been scheduled for earlier than planned for the insolvent Wuxi Suntech.

solar park

Gross margin, meanwhile, has been calculated at around -1.4%, compared to 12.3% in 2011.

According to its preliminary calculations, the Chinese photovoltaic manufacturer saw FY 2012 revenues tumbling from US$3.14 billion in 2011, to around $1.63 billion. In Q4, revenues of around $358 million were recorded – a decrease of 8% on Q3 (around $387 million), and down from the $629 million posted in Q4 2011.

Most sales in both the quarter and throughout the year were achieved via photovoltaic modules, with systems, cells, silicon wafers and production equipment accounting for less than 10% of revenues. Overall, the company shipped around 1.8 GW of photovoltaic products – in line with its previous guidance issued in Q3 – although Q4 saw shipments sequentially declining by around 4%.

FY gross margin, meanwhile, has been calculated at around -1.4%, compared to 12.3% in 2011. For the last quarter of 2012, Suntech expects a gross margin of approximately 0.4%, compared to around 5% in Q3 and 9.9% in Q4 2011.

Restructuring

Regarding the insolvency of its Wuxi Suntech subsidiary, Suntech has scheduled a creditors meeting for May 22 - earlier than previously expected - in order to discuss  restructuring solutions.

"Wuxi Suntech … continues to work with the court-appointed administrator and its stakeholders to improve its financial position and outlook," said the company in a statement released.

At the start of April, Suntech Power International Ltd (SPI) applied for a provisional moratorium of up to two months as a result of over-indebtedness. At the time, a court appointed administrator was selected to assess SPI's financial condition and restructure its debt. Again, Suntech said SPI is continuing to work with the administrator.

"The company's intention is that the new business plan will enable SPI to enter a definitive moratorium that would provide a platform to enter discussions with SPI's creditors," continued the statement.

Finally, in relation to Suntech’s unpaid convertible bonds, totaling $541 million, the company said it is continuing to hold discussions with the major holders of the notes "with a view to achieving a consensual restructuring."

Originally, Suntech was scheduled to release restated consolidated financial statements for 2010 and 2011, after completing an assessment of the Global Solar Fund (GSF). However, the financial audit is not said to be complete, meaning more time is needed.

Meanwhile, the company was expected to release its 2012 financial results on April 30. Due to the aforementioned GSF and restructuring issues, it has delayed their publication. "The company is working diligently to complete these assessments and file restated financials for 2010 and 2011, as well as the 2012 Annual Report on Form 20-F, as soon as practicable," concluded the statement.

The May edition of pv magazine has looked at the rise and fall of the Suntech empire. Subscribers can gain full access to the content from tomorrow. Non-subscribers can view a shortened version of the article.


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